back to article Miguel de Icaza on his journey from open source to Microsoft: 'It's a different company'

At Xamarin's Evolve conference in Orlando, I sat down with Miguel de Icaza, the initiator of both the GNOME desktop for Linux and the Mono open source version of Microsoft's .NET Framework. Miguel de Icaza co-founded Xamarin with Nat Friedman, who became CEO. Xamarin, which provides tools for developing mobile applications for …

  1. IGnatius T Foobar
    Thumb Down

    open source people universally hate Miguel.

    Speaking for the entire open source community, Miguel, we hate your guts.

    It is generally accepted that Miguel de Icaza has *always* been on Microsoft's payroll; it simply isn't a secret anymore. He single handedly destroyed the open source community's first and best hope of a unified desktop environment by creating the KDE/GNOME schism. Then he balkanized the managed code scene with open source implementations of Microsoft .NET

    Microsoft has never been Miguel's enemy. Microsoft has *always* been his employer and his master.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

      This is a really ugly sentiment, a personal attack on someone because you hate their work product. I look for better from the Reg readership.

      I hate systemd with the power of a thousand suns, but Lennart Poettering not at all.

      I think Java single-handedly destroyed thousands of good middle-class American jobs by allowing mass import of H-1B numpties, but I bear no animus to James Gosling.

      etc.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

        "I think Java single-handedly destroyed thousands of good middle-class American jobs by allowing mass import of H-1B numpties"

        It's not a story I've followed but I'd have thought that the problem would be the system by which H1-B numbers are controlled (sic) rather than the specific language used in the projects for which the visas were issued. The generic problem isn't unknown on this side of the Atlantic either.

      2. Not That Andrew

        Re: open source people DON'T universally hate Miguel.

        At the time IIRC QT was available for free, but under a dodgy and restrictive licence, They then changed to a less restrictive but still not particularly FOSS friendly one. It was only with QT 2.2 that the free version was released under the GPL Many still had qualms however and it was only until the company set in place a mechanism whereby all rights to QT would be transferred to a foundation in the event of it ending trading that these were eased. Whether a receiver would recognise this is another matter however.

        There were many valid reasons why de Icasa was hailed as a hero when he started the Gnome project. And I doubt QT would be as free as it is now without Gnome and GTK

        1. Flat Phillip

          Re: open source people DON'T universally hate Miguel.

          You do recall correctly. People may want to rewrite the history but Qt around the time Gnome and Gtk started was quite hostile to open source. It was that typical "we'll call it open source but you play by our rules" attitude.

          The competition of Gtk definitely put some pressure (but would not be the only reason) to open up Qt; it's all ancient history now but doesn't mean it didn't happen.

      3. anoncow

        Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

        Count me among those who initially respected him for his enthusiasm (and not for his coding or design skills, which are quite obviously deficient - I give you Bonobo as just one of many examples). But now I regard him as a cynical profiteer whose agenda is and always was to undermine anything non Microsoft. As for his motivation, I can only speculate, but I do know that money talks, and talks especially loudly to those of weak moral character.

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

      Wow. 28 people have upvoted a vitriolic personal attack.

      I'm a fairly impartial observer on the KDE Gnome thing (I use lxde), but he clearly can't have single handedly created a "schism" because if it was just him everyone would have ignored him.

      Isn't choice good?

      Same for Mono, if supporting .net on Linux was so bad why such an issue. Nobody puts a gun against your head forcing you to use it. I've deployed a few Windows servers where I'd have preferred Linux because I needed reliable .net (and we're a RHEL shop at work).

      These days I write Go in similar situations and can easily target different platforms. Go is heavily patent encumbered too, but you don't hear abuse being directed at the Go team.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

        > Wow. 28 people have upvoted a vitriolic personal attack.

        I am of them. The Xamarin folks actively and viciously attacked KDE. I personally witnessed that.

        Icaza's endorsement for Microsoft's Office Open XML did the rest for me.

        Case closed.

        1. Daniel B.
          Unhappy

          Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

          Back in 1999, de Icaza was hailed as a hero, especially within the Linux community in my country (Mexico). Sure, I preferred KDE over Gnome, but it was interesting to see the guy pretty much lead one of the main desktop managers in Linux.

          Then it started getting weird with Mono. Why the hell would anyone want to push a Microsoft-centric platform on Linux? If you're going to do pirated Java, do straight Java (and no Miguel, Java isn't the problem. It was the holes punched through by Sun to add extra stuff that caused all those vulns.) Then the Xamarin vs. KDE stuff. Then his actual pushing for propietary over FOSS. I can't remember if it was his praising of OOXML or the propietary over FOSS thing that ended up losing my respect for him, but I can say that it's been a long time since he stopped being praised by us.

          His jump into MSFT is simply showing that he has indeed turned to the Dark Side. :(

        2. Heya

          Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

          Can you provide some evidence of the Xamarin sponsored collective attack on KDE? Google can't seem to find anything of the magnitude you're describing. Xamarin has somewhere between 300 and 400 ish employees, if there were a collective attack on KDE surely it'd have made the news somewhere?

          https://www.google.com/search?q=xamarin+attack+kde

          1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

            Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

            I should have said "Ximian" instead of "Xamarin", apologies. I happened to work in the company where these things took place.

          2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

            Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

            Funny, your google search brings this one up: http://techrights.org/2016/02/28/xamarin-ximian-and-novell/

            Cannot say anything about techrights.org as I haven't seen it before.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

              techrights is a special snowflake of a website. Take a couple of the more inflammatory articles and/or statements and fact check them. Dig into history and find the original causes/reasons for the chain of events described. Apply some good old fashioned investigatory journalism to his site and then let me know what is actually true and what is pure fantasy.

              His site was formally known as boycottnovell. Two fun links from around the boycottnovell erc.

              http://www.vistax64.com/vista-general/43297-re-roy-schestowitz-being-paid-spew-groups.html#post205148

              https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.os.linux.advocacy/0JeumYWOvUw

              You can do the rest of your research at your leisure.

              1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

                Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

                > techrights is a special snowflake of a website.

                Interesting (and strange). Thanks! I didn't know any of that.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

          Icaza's endorsement for Microsoft's Office Open XML did the rest for me.

          I look at people, products and services in context of what they do.

          From that perspective I don't like both Microsoft and Mono, as they are presently very busy marketing themselves as something they are not, which is on the side of their customer. MS is as morally bankrupt as Wall Street, but still try to cosy up to the developers they so *desperately* need to pretend it's all for your benefit. Icaza fits right into that context - pretending to eat cake from both sides, but occasionally the mask slips and shows his true paymaster.

          MSOOXML was the moment Microsoft showed the world that it was quite prepared to use a human zero-day to almost destroy a mechanism that had been keeping us safe for literally decades: the ISO structure - you know, the thing that establishes standards from anything from child seats to engineering.

          MSOOXML was bought, bullied and bribed into being named a standard (it is anything but in reality because it never had a full consensus driven development cycle behind it), and exactly because of that we eventually switched to full ODF only for our business. We don't even have an MS Office license anymore to "translate" documents, most of our suppliers are now switching as well as we no longer accept anything but Libre/OpenOffice ODF from them (some tried pretending, but the Microsoft ODF export is *terrible* - I have no idea how anyone can even consider claiming that "supporting ODF" unless they're not worried about their credibility).

          In that context I would advise you not to fall for Microsoft's recent *cough* charm *cough* offensive on Open Source. No, Microsoft has not changed. It just uses a new marketing approach. I'm not quite sure what its current aim is (nor do I care much - we're now MS free), but if you really think that *anything* Microsoft does is for the benefit of a user or a community (other than its management and shareholders) you're dangerously delusional and should be kept away from any procurement of IT decision making process.

          No, Microsoft hasn't gone nice. It's only attempting to market itself as such, and plenty of suckers are desperate to believe it.

          You have a good three decades of track record. Study it and also note just how accurate Google is following their playbook and methodologies - no wonder they joined forces.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

      Wowza, that is just phenomenal. It's pretty close to being the most ignorant ill-informed drivel i've seen about the topic.

      It's not generally accepted that Miguel was employed by microsoft. That's just fantasy invented and believed by the crazies because it suits their agenda. Some people just hate Microsoft, they won't let things like facts and truth get in the way of their hatred.

      Trying to claim that someone who created an alternative GUI toolkit 'single handedly destroyed' something just shows you have a complete lack of understanding in how opensource works. When Pulse audio came out did we say Lennart destroyed our chances of having a stable audio stack? When system-d came out did we say he single handedly destroyed our chance of having a unified initialization system? When Linux came out did we say Linus singlehandedly destroyed our chances of having a unified UNIX based operating system? No, we didn't. People flocked to gnome because it was better for them. That forced KDE to become better to lure them back.

      The only people who 'balkanized the scene' were people spouting irrational hatred and demanding irrational things. Especially when those demands were selectively applied to Mono, conveniently ignoring every other software stack which suffered from the same ambiguities. After Mono gained more protections and promises then any other piece of software with the same perceived legal issues, it wasn't good enough for the crazies.

      1. jack d

        Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

        Microsoft sure is a different company today, different from the company it were in the 1990-ties, an open, enthusiastic group of youngsters that brought computing to literally every home on the planet - but TODAY it is an ugly world-wide monopoly, that leverages its position by unjust litigation threats to competition upstarts and outright fake patent extortion. We all have to make a living, we all should act reasonably - Dear Manuel - if you must sing, try a different tune

        1. Bryan Hall

          Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

          Forgetting Digital Research and DR-DOS are we. That and Apple's attack on GEM rather sadly did them in.

        2. JLV Silver badge

          Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

          >different from the company it were in the 1990-ties, an open, enthusiastic group of youngsters that brought computing to literally every home on the planet - but TODAY it is an ugly world-wide monopoly,

          That's funny.

          Their actual monopoly case was in the (late) 90s. And it only came about because they did accumulate a whole long string of abusive behavior towards their competition throughout the 90s.

          You may or may not like MS. But their monopoly days are behind them. And if there was truly a nice, open, MS, then it would have been in the 80s.

          I am still not an MS fan, but I appreciate the direction they've been going a whole lot more since the Ballmer has left. There are many pointless exceptions, such as their religious zeal on Windows 10 telemetry and their carryover of Windows 8 design fails. But they do seem to be opening up a bit and they've lost whole swathes of their monopoly rents.

          </pedant>

      2. AJ MacLeod

        Re: "People flocked to gnome because it was better for them."

        No they didn't - back then Gnome was almost repulsively ugly, fairly unstable and not even remotely close to KDE in terms of actually useful features.

        Such people as did move to it almost all moved, one way or another, because of the QT licensing concerns. (Distros such as Red Hat making Gnome their default desktop certainly pushed Gnome adoption.)

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: "People flocked to gnome because it was better for them."

          Ridiculous almost religious zeal in open source community.

          Open source is a great thing, but fundamentalism will hold it all back.

    4. John Hughes

      Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

      He single handedly destroyed the open source community's first and best hope of a unified desktop environment by creating the KDE/GNOME schism.
      Whatever you think about Miguel this is just bollocks.

      It was Trolltech that caused the "schism" by licensing Qt with a non GPL compatible license.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

        > by licensing Qt with a non GPL

        From the year 2000 on Qt was available under GPL!

        1. joeldillon

          Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

          And the schism happened in the mid 90s.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

            Jimbo's Qt article is pretty informative.

            Man, these stories from the times of the Unix war, rise of Linux and Internet Bubble Crazy make me nostalgic.

            What stories will we tell when the currently crazy-as-mofo-papermoney-economy-moreover-laden-with-a-few-wars-we-can't-afford crashes into a smoldering heap of compost?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

      So it was Miguel who's repeatedly postponed the year of Linux on the desktop?

    6. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: open source people universally hate Miguel.

      He single handedly destroyed the open source community's first and best hope of a unified desktop environment by creating the KDE/GNOME schism.

      Good for him. I can't imagine why we'd want something so dreary as "a unified desktop environment".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS remains hostile to F/OSS...

    ...open standards and just about every other aspect of cross-platofrm interoperability. MS continues in their anti-Linux patent actions. They continue with the whole exFAT bullshit. We have merely moved back to the "Embrace" phase of their long-played strategy.

    Now that the world is plagued with JavaScript jockeys who were barely out of diapers when MS was crushing innovation the last time around, they just lap all this up as it's convenient with nary a thought to the consequences: control has been handed over to one of the most freedom-hating corporations in existence.

    *ANY* company that does business with MS is dancing with the devil. Red Hat /might/ just be big enough to survive, but the likes of Canoncial can expect to be crushed. Or bought. No way a minnow Canoncial can stand-up to MS.

  3. Bruce Ordway

    Java

    >> is the problem?

    I'm not a huge fan of java but...

    I would have liked some explanation following his statement

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Java

      > I would have liked some explanation following his statement

      Isn't it obvious ? Java is the problem preventing Microsoft's world domination of all computing.

      1. Richard Wharram

        Re: Java

        Um. Oracle?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "the problem of Microsoft has transmogrified in multicolored ponys"

          Oracle is a problem but it's not a bigger problem than Microsoft, which, in spite of de Icaza's implied subtext and outrageous hyping has not gone away in any way. (Unless this article does selective quoting ... formerly he was "cloud agnostic" and now he does Azure only. That's not "being a problem" why exactly?)

          (Yes, Oracle is losing steam right now and is doing the idiotic thing trying to affirm copyright status over the API of the Java standard libraries. They should be held to account for risking to have the Computing Industry go up in flames just to extract money from Google.)

          Now, for "Java". It is a lot of things, in order of decreasing importance as I see it:

          -- Java the standard libraries: A sometimes infuriating, sometimes well-thought out very large swiss army knife. Quite a lot of the value buried in the "Java" keyword lies here.

          -- Java the FLOSS bass: A really large set of libraries and tools for which the code can be had under various FLOSS licenses. Absolutely essential.

          -- Java the FLOSS ecosystem: People who know about Java and are doing FLOSS. Absolutely essential.

          -- Java the enterprisey ecosystem: All of JEE specification and implementations and people able to write code for that.

          -- Java the connectors and bindings for Java the language and Java the JVM for all sorts for stuff from databases to XML tools, open or not.

          -- The specification of the Oracle JVM and the corresponding implementations: Implementations of the JVM from "not-Oracle" exist, although the Oracle JVM is very tuned, reliable and comes with a nice toolset.

          -- Java the language: The Java language is widely known but getting on a bit. Better languages exist now that can interop with existing Java code, and that can be compiled to JVM bytecode or be interpreted on the JVM. Some of these languages have non-JVM runtimes or even .Net runtimes. Time to change.

          -- Java the installed base: JREs and JDKs already on servers on clients, hopefully at the latest versions.

          1. JLV Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: "the problem of Microsoft has transmogrified in multicolored ponys"

            +1 for an intelligent and non-dogmatic analysis of Java's strengths and weaknesses. And this is coming from someone who generally gets a kick out of yanking Java devs' chains.

        2. Bernardo Sviso

          Re: Java

          Not even Oracle (though Oracle is clearly pretty bad, as it is)

          but rather, the CAFC (Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) and it's demonstrated willingness to screw with both facts and law, in it's ideological quest for the ever expanded scope and the ever greater glory of "Intellectual Property Rights".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's right about one thing...

    Whether or not he's right about MS, he's certainly right that Oracle/Java is a huge problem. Oracle is the one who set a court precedent that APIs can be copyrighted. Oracle is the one maintaining an iron grip on the development of the java language and refusing to release a truly open implementation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He's right about one thing...

      So let me understand, when MS attempted to bend Java to its interests was bad, when Google did it was right?

      Nothing would have stopped Google to make its own ".NET" just like MS eventually did, but of course it would have had to invest much more to develop everything needed, instead of reaping a lot of someone else work to make money for itself...

      1. Roo
        Windows

        Re: He's right about one thing...

        "So let me understand, when MS attempted to bend Java to its interests was bad, when Google did it was right?"

        The key point of difference is that Google aren't claiming their notJava is Java, whereas Microsoft attempted to punt notJava as Java and marketed it with a bunch of Java related trademarks. An unfortunate side effect of the court case appears to be that Oracle owns everything ever written in Java and anything that else that happens to contain Java keywords/API identifiers.

        The thing that makes me unhappy is that it sets a legal precedent that may allow Oracle (and anyone else) to target other totally unrelated stuff like C++, C#/.NET, Python et al because copyright infringement is evaluated at a purely symbolic level too. The legal system seems to provide a myriad ways of having prior art thrown out of the equation, so some bogus infringement claims will stick.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: He's right about one thing...

          LOL! Google reaped the whole Java ecosystem to make it data slurping OS with the little investment it could. Harmony was Java. Dalvik was Java. Google used them just to attempt to avoid to license Java, while still being able to use Java tools and libraries to make Android work. Nobody says Android development is not made in Java. MS licensed Java but tried to add Windows-only extensions. Google stole the whole Java design without even getting a license, sure it would have got support by fanboys who still believe Google is not evil as much as Microsoft...

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: He's right about one thing...

            Dalvik was Java.

            Stop being a stupid jerk.

            Google used them just to attempt to avoid to license Java

            Somebody is using a tool that somebody else created. Stop him!!

            Seriously, even Orlowski Arguments are better.

          2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: He's right about one thing...

            > Dalvik was Java.

            Dalvik is not "Java". Java is a language, Dalvik is a runtime VM. It may well be that programs written in the Java language can be compiled and converted to run on the Dalvik VM, or the ART VM. Dalik does not run the same byte code as the Java JRE runtime VM.

            > Google used them just to attempt to avoid to license Java,

            Factually incorrect. The Java and OpenJava JDK are freely licenced to anyone. Sun conformed that. They, nor the customers do not need JRE licences because Android runs Dalvik or ART.

            > while still being able to use Java tools and libraries to make Android work. Nobody says Android development is not made in Java.

            Android apps may well be written in the Java language, but the licences are freely available to any developer, or indeed to anyone. The OpenJava libraries, and may others are FOSS.

            > MS licensed Java but tried to add Windows-only extensions.

            MS tried to extend Java in breach of the licence that they had.

            > Google stole the whole Java design without even getting a license,

            Factually incorrect. There was no 'stealing'. What Google used was freely licenced to them as confirmed by Sun at the time.

            1. tekHedd

              Re: He's right about one thing...

              "Java is a language"

              Java is a language, byte code, interpreter, and libraries.

              C# is a language.

              If Reg commentards can't keep these things straight, no wonder the courts get it wrong.

              1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: He's right about one thing...

                >> "Java is a language"

                > Java is a language, byte code, interpreter, and libraries.

                While there are several Java language compilers that will output a particular byte-code, there are also many compilers of other languages that will output that byte-code and there are Java language compilers, or post-processors, that will output quite different code (eg gcj).

                Particular _systems_ based on the Java language will include compilers, run-times and libraries, these may be called JRE, JDK, or gcj.

                > C# is a language.

                The fact that they call the byte-code, run-time and libraries for the C# system some different name (.NET) does not make it different in nature.

      2. oldcoder

        Re: He's right about one thing...

        Except that the result of what Microsoft did was not Java.

        Google doesn't call its modifications Java. Besides, it ISN'T Java.

        No Java Virtual Machine.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He's right about one thing...

      Open JDK ?

      How would screaming closed env help when its blind opinion.

      BTW: Google.

      Yeah right. Do no Evil.

      There is a long list of anti-privacy doings of this company.

      And when does Google NEVER patent or copyright any product.

      Want benevolence...Start with Google and make them stop ADs.

      Business model. Yes thats right. Its a business model.

      Oracle & Google have different ones.

      Hence you feel pained.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: He's right about one thing...

        "BTW: Google.

        Yeah right. Do no Evil."

        That went out the window when they bought Doubleclick without sacking the management.

        It was a poison pill. Doubleclick took over Google form the inside.

        Think of it as a larger version of "The Stuff" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stuff

  5. Mikel

    Sellout

    Cashing in.

    It's not about open. It's about money.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone who thinks this guy represents "Open Source" is - frankly - an idiot extremely far off the mark.

    Please don't ever write again that Miguel de Icaza represents Open Source. He really doesn't.

  7. Damon Lynch

    Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

    I'm in the FOSS community and I don't hate Miguel de Icaza. On the contrary, I respect him extremely highly. His technical skills are beyond question. He, Nat and others did the hard yards with C and Evolution, and based on their experience, decided C wasn't up to the task, hence the need for something with the capabilities of a C# type of language. So they did Mono. Personally I love coding in Python, but hey, they prefer C# and there is no way I'm going to second guess their technical reasoning.

    I was disappointed when Miguel gave up working on the Linux desktop, but to his credit he shared his reasoning. Personally I think the Linux desktop world lost one of its brightest stars when he made that decision, but there will always be others ready to step up. For those of us who still believe in the Linux desktop, we just need to get on with it.

    What I don't respect is rubbish spouted in the first two comments -- the kind of slanderous, ignorant hate that tends to come from anonymous posters who may never have contributed any code of any real substance to anyone. I have to wonder if these are the same people who attack prominent women coders. Get a life, guys.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

      EVOLUTION, good code?? It's a worthless piece of shit.

    2. find users who cut cat tail

      Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

      > I have to wonder if these are the same people who attack prominent women coders.

      And where that came from?

      No, we just hate the guy who tried hard to destroy the Open Source desktop under the guise of implementing some grandiose vision -- and unfortunately succeeded to large extent before moving elsewhere.

      And I personally also hate idiots who post slanderous remarks such as yours.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

        Gentlemen. Please.

        Try to understand the difference between libel and slander.

      2. Damon Lynch

        Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

        >> I have to wonder if these are the same people who attack prominent women coders.

        >And where that came from?

        Of the 34 (and counting) people who upvoted the first comment to this interview, we can be pretty certain that among them are are at least one person who harasses and threaten women coders anonymously. Read this week's story about Jessie Frazelle if you missed it.

        What is far from certain is that among those 34 there is even a single FOSS developer who has actually contributed any code anyone cares about it. Show us your code "find users who cut cat tail", and let's see if it is even one thousandth of the FOSS code written by Miguel and Nat.

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

          Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

          > ...among them are are at least one person who harasses and threaten women coders anonymously.

          Again, bollocks. Obviously I can only speak for myself.

          > ...even a single FOSS developer who has actually contributed any code anyone cares about it.

          Wrong again.

        2. Justin Clift

          Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

          What is far from certain is that among those 34 there is even a single FOSS developer who has actually contributed any code anyone cares about it.

          Btw - code isn't the only way to significantly contribute to a project. Other ways are just as valuable to OSS projects, sometimes even more so at strategic times. ;) eg: Writing user docs, doing solid QA/testing/reporting, project co-ordination, etc.

          As for projects people are involved in, here's one I've been putting time into for a while:

          https://github.com/sqlitebrowser/sqlitebrowser

          As a measure of usage, it's about 150k downloads a month (and trending upwards), which isn't too bad:

          https://api.github.com/repos/sqlitebrowser/sqlitebrowser/releases

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

          Of the 34 (and counting) people who upvoted the first comment to this interview, we can be pretty certain that among them are are at least one person who harasses and threaten women coders anonymously. Read this week's story about Jessie Frazelle if you missed it.

          Wow - thanks for pointing that out. We work with a few female coders (who are trustworthy and scary good, which is IMHO pretty much the only valid criterium for employing/contracting anyone) and some of that work may go public at some point. I need to find a way to protect them from that type of idiocy.

          Abraham Lincoln may have said that the true test of someone's character is power, but I've come to the conclusion that the pleb version of that is to give someone anonymity. If you behave differently when anonymous than when standing in front of someone you need to use therapy, not Twitter.

          1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

            Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

            > ... the pleb version of that is to give someone anonymity.

            You posted that, erm, as AC 8^)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

              > ... the pleb version of that is to give someone anonymity.

              You posted that, erm, as AC 8^)

              Of course - that's the irony. Yet, I'm still moderately civil :).

              I honestly don't really get the whole "hate" thing. It's like dealing with 12 year olds, but those you can at least still teach something..

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

            > Wow - thanks for pointing that out. We work with a few female coders (who are trustworthy and scary good, which is IMHO pretty much the only valid criterium for employing/contracting anyone) and some of that work may go public at some point. I need to find a way to protect them from that type of idiocy.

            I wish I had some advice to give other than: BRACE FOR IMPACT!

            I wish you can your colleagues the very best, hopefully you don't encounter too many bottom feeders.

          3. Bernardo Sviso

            Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

            > Abraham Lincoln may have said that the true test of someone's character is power, but I've come to the conclusion that the pleb version of that is to give someone anonymity. If you behave differently when anonymous than when standing in front of someone you need to use therapy, not Twitter.

            I plan to "steal" that quote, shamelessly, when the appropriate opportunity to repeat it comes along.

            :)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

              "If you behave differently when anonymous than when standing in front of someone you need to use therapy, not Twitter."

              What a load of kack. There are many, many reasons to behave differently when anonymous than when identified. Mostly this comes down to oppression and that's 99% of the time, religion (cite: Saudi Arabia, parts of the USA, India...) or a lack of protection for freedom of expression (cite: United Kingdom and draconian libel laws; Russia...).

              It doesn't have to be because the person is in some way psychologically disturbed.

    3. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

      > hence the need for something with the capabilities of a C# type of language.

      They come to the "conclusion" that Linux needs to be more Windoze-ish. As if C++ (and a range of other fine languages) didn't exist.

      > same people who attack prominent women coders.

      Bollocks.

      Now gimme my fucking downvotes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

        They come to the "conclusion" that Linux needs to be more Windoze-ish. As if C++ (and a range of other fine languages) didn't exist.

        Dreams of a large Smalltalk codebase...

        What? One can dream, right?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

      > What I don't respect is rubbish spouted in the first two comments -- the kind of slanderous, ignorant hate

      Well, apart from the fact that almost everything I mentioned is a matter of record. The final part about Canoncial not being able to stand-up to MS is opinion. It's not slander by any definition of the the word, so wind your neck in and accept that people are allowed to state facts & opinion.

      > that tends to come from anonymous posters who may never have contributed any code of any real substance to anyone.

      Says an anonymous poster...

      > I have to wonder if these are the same people who attack prominent women coders.

      No actually, I'm not. The treatment of women in F/OSS (e.g. the Docker dev) is utterly repugnant. However if I don't like something I'll say, and I don't like MS.

      > Get a life, guys.

      Ah, casual sexism. Don't you just love it? Call the SJW police!

      1. Damon Lynch

        Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

        I'm not posting anonymously. I'm using my real name.

        There is a difference between not liking Microsoft's business practices, and hating Miguel de Icaza the human being. Do you unequivocally condemn the vile hatred towards him vigorously advocated by so many here? If you do, then I'm delighted to stand corrected in your case. If not, then sorry but yes I'm tarring you with the same brush as the rest. Your "facts" about Microsoft remind me of Ballmer's "get the facts" about Linux -- pointless, overly emotive, one-sided, and destructive.

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

          Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

          > "facts" about Microsoft

          "facts" in quotes? They do have a long and utterly consistent history of doing certain things that are in my not so humble opinion really bad.

          @Icaza: I do not know him personally but dislike quite a bit what he is doing. Neither do I know Ballmer personally. Both might be nice people to meet in person. Then I don't think so. Neither do I care.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

            I do not know him personally but dislike quite a bit what he is doing. Neither do I know Ballmer personally. Both might be nice people to meet in person. Then I don't think so. Neither do I care.

            This sums it up nicely.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

            "facts" in quotes? They do have a long and utterly consistent history of doing certain things that are in my not so humble opinion really bad.

            .. and much of it is nicely documented as facts in both court documents and online, although it is possible that with the newfound collaboration between Google and Microsoft the latter may express a desire for such things to be "forgotten" (read: buried under several pages of less relevant links).

            @Icaza: I do not know him personally but dislike quite a bit what he is doing. Neither do I know Ballmer personally. Both might be nice people to meet in person.

            In my experience, people's ethics eventually shine through. It may be that that is the reason why you can never get these people for more than a few hours - after that, the carefully constructed artifice may slip.

            I personally always find it rather entertaining to deliberately feed people like that lines that absolutely conflict with their internal values and see them fight to remain composed and not scold me for the blithering do-gooding idiot I appear to be. Learning to read micro expressions is one of the most fun and entertaining things I've ever done - you can read the anger and contempt as it flashes past their facial muscles even when they then smile and laugh with you as if you just shared deep insight with them (they really *hate* they can't afford to piss me off :) ).

            It's really a shame some people are on to me now..

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

              I personally always find it rather entertaining to deliberately feed people like that lines that absolutely conflict with their internal values and see them fight to remain composed and not scold me for the blithering do-gooding idiot I appear to be.

              Do we have, by any chance, the honour of a visit by the Duke of Edinburgh? :)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

          > I'm not posting anonymously. I'm using my real name.

          So you say. I have no way to verify that, so you're anonymous to me.

          > Your "facts" about Microsoft remind me of Ballmer's "get the facts" about Linux

          My facts (current ones being the exFat, Android patent shakedown etc) are that - facts. They are matter of record and reported by MS themselves.

          > pointless, overly emotive, one-sided, and destructive.

          Hardly. They are to remind the youngsters around here how totally poisonous MS has been, continues to be and no doubt will be in the future. MS it anti-freedom. End of.

          1. Damon Lynch

            Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

            Your name shows up as "Anonymous Coward". Mine shows up as "Damon Lynch". My code is all online, all Linux desktop related, and under the GPL - and yours?

            Your "facts" about Microsoft include the claim that it is "one of the most freedom-hating corporations in existence". More freedom-hating than Monsanto? Blackwater/Academi? Koch Industries? Saudi Aramco? Freeport McMoRan? De Beers? What indicators of freedom are you using to compare? Do you have good knowledge of the history of these companies, what they do and how they go about it? If not, can you reference a study by experts in the area?

            I myself greatly dislike some Microsoft business practices, but I try not to go around making stuff up about them. That's just dumb.

            I don't go around spreading hatred towards individual coders, for many reasons. How many de Icaza haters here know that the full-time maintainer of an important free software project, exiv2, used to work for Adobe, and now works on exiv2 in his retirement? If the Adobe employee been the object of hatred directed at him by members of the FOSS community, do you think he'd have taken up the exiv2 role?

            The hate exhibited here towards de Icaza and others harms the free software movement. Period.

            1. Hans 1 Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

              >Monsanto? Blackwater/Academi? Koch Industries? Saudi Aramco? Freeport McMoRan? De Beers? What indicators of freedom are you using to compare?

              Not a single software company in that list ?

              Freedom-hating could have been Oracle, that is the other, but Microsoft is in a completely different league. They have a monopoly on the desktop because most readers here KNOW JACKSHIT about their trade or have never seen a calculator ... and they use and abuse it, have been since day 1, have never stopped.

              Miguel de Icaza is like David Brooks, a fscking traitor, there are many more.

              On the one side, you have those defending software freedom and on the other authoritarian software, you choose your side, remember, though, as history teaches us, freedom always wins.

              David Brooks and Miguel de Icaza have betrayed software freedom and deserve all the flack/vitriol they get.

              1. Hans 1 Silver badge
                Windows

                Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

                >David Brooks and Miguel de Icaza have betrayed software freedom and deserve all the flack/vitriol they get.

                Ohhh, and, for each and every MS employee I believe they benefit from doubt, as most simply do not know any better, just like most "point and click" experts, aka "Windows Cleaner and Surface Experts" on here .... come on, where are the downvotes ? No pride ? No idea, that is sure, but no pride ?

                ROFLLLLLLLLL!

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

                On the one side, you have those defending software freedom and on the other authoritarian software, you choose your side, remember, though, as history teaches us, freedom always wins.

                Hmm. I admire your optimism.

                History is written by the winner, IMHO we have as yet not arrived at the point of recursion.

                David Brooks and Miguel de Icaza have betrayed software freedom and deserve all the flack/vitriol they get.

                No, they deserve comments and opinions on their actions, not the sort of hate that gets poured over everyone online including children with obesity problems. There is no, repeat, NO excuse for uncivil discourse. It is important to ensure we remain social and in control, not revert to clueless savages once there are no consequences associated to what we do due to anonymity.

                The answer to "does a gentleman alone in the woods curse?" should remain "only after careful consideration" :)

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

                  we have as yet not arrived at the point of recursion

                  Sounds like going down a rabbit hole. Did you want to say "inflection"?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

                    Sounds like going down a rabbit hole. Did you want to say "inflection"?

                    No, more like recursion from it's Latin "go back" roots: events happen, and only afterwards do we know who the winner is, who will then revisit the records of the timeline to impose their version on it.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

              Your name shows up as "Anonymous Coward". Mine shows up as "Damon Lynch". My code is all online, all Linux desktop related, and under the GPL - and yours?

              Well, I could just open a new account as Richard "Da Beard" Stallman, and I too would have lots of code online. But I'd also be considered a total tit from a personality perspective and be accused of wearing sandals and socks, so I won't.

              In a way, account names are the new discrimination online when sex, race and gender are not visible.

              You ignore then if you want to focus on content, you look at them when you try to go personal on someone. Well, f*ck that. I'm one of the people with a stable enough character to tell you face to face what I'd post anonymously because I do not consider anonymous equivalent with being unaccountable, but I won't have you tell me that my opinion matters somehow less because I don't agree with your worldview.

              As for de Icaza, I don't know the man. What I do know is what he's doing right now with Microsoft, and I share the opinion of others that it stinks, badly. I can have an opinion on his actions, and use that to judge the validity of anything he spouts in public. The conclusion I come to is that his opinion is not his own, at which point he no longer represents any value for me.

              I block ads, so I'll block de Icaza. It's that simple.

              1. Damon Lynch

                Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

                > I'm one of the people with a stable enough character to tell you face to face what I'd post anonymously because I do not consider anonymous equivalent with being unaccountable

                You think advancing the FOSS desktop includes hating people individual coders who you think of as traitors, and then spreading that hate online. Fear, anger, insecurity and resentment seem to be an important part of your life. That's sad. It does not lead to stability of character -- not for you personally, nor the other de Icaza haters.

                It's also sad because in this poisonous atmosphere it's impossible to have any kind of rational discussion about anything. I'm checking out of the discussion, and getting back to bug-fixing!

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

                  You think advancing the FOSS desktop includes hating people individual coders who you think of as traitors, and then spreading that hate online. Fear, anger, insecurity and resentment seem to be an important part of your life.

                  I'm assuming you're replying to the wrong post, otherwise kindly indicate where in my post I use words such as traitors and generally advocate the sort of hatred I specifically posted *against*. Your assertions in the latter sentence thus do not have a rational basis and are either a function of the aforementioned mistake or a product of a deluded mind - either renders them irrelevant :).

                  I am explicitly and deliberately avoiding the sort of black and white views that seem to be all the rage, fomented by low end news papers that need this attitude to sell due to the absence of any real journalistic content. "If you're not for <$topic>, you must be against <$topic> and are a traitor/paedophile/terrorist (a fairly endless list) blah blah blah" is not my style.

            3. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

              There is a long way from "I strongly dislike what X is doing" to "I hate X". The latter is unwise (and unhealthy) as a rule. My feeling toward Icaza are the former. Also kindly give some slack to non-PC wordings in this forum.

              While the "you name is AC" part was not directed to me, here you go: http://jjj.de/ (have a giggle!). I never posted as AC on the Reg (or anywhere else) and have no intention of doing so. My (German) name is a PITA in English and I found "GrumpenKraut" somewhat funny (and actually fitting).

              To sum it up: peace bro, have a pint. =--------------->

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

              > Your name shows up as "Anonymous Coward". Mine shows up as "Damon Lynch". My code is all online, all Linux desktop related, and under the GPL - and yours?

              I could use the name "L Torvalds", "MJ Garrett" etc; it wouldn't matter. Saying you are anonymous isn't an attack - it's just a simple statement.

              Also, are you implying that only coders can comment on matters that affect software freedom? Here was me thinking that F/OSS was meant to be inclusive and mere users could get invlved by (say) reporting bugs or helping with questions. OH WHOOPS! Silly me. If I can't have C in my sleep and have years worth of GIT commits I am not allowed to voice any opinion on matters affecting F/OSS. That about it?

              For the record: I neither confirm nor deny my contributions to F/OSS (code, assistance, money, organisation, outreach...) as they are utterly irrelevant to the matter at hand.

              > More freedom-hating than <list of companies>

              There are many companies on the planet. Even if you only took a list of the top 0.1% of a list in order of freedom-hating, MS would be on that list. I not that none on you list are in software (read on).

              > Do you have good knowledge of the history of these companies, what they do and how they go about it?

              For some, yes I do. But they are not the topic of discussion.

              > I don't go around spreading hatred towards individual coders

              Nor have I. In fact, I've been careful not to and have picked my target very clearly for their past and current transgressions.

              > The hate exhibited here towards de Icaza and others harms the free software movement. Period.

              I'm not going to disagree with that. But simply accepting everything MS throws over the wall as if it is some kind of gracious gift is naivety and ignorance in the extreme. *ANYTHING* from MS should be treated with the utmost caution, given their strong anti-freedom history. The first question should always be: "How could MS use this to attack and weaken freedom?"

              And before some other fanboys get involved; yes, to greater and lesser degrees the same check need to be applied to Google, IBM, Oracle and Apple as well for very similar reasons.

              Oh, and the Linux Foundation too. Wait, what? Yup. The Linux Foundation itself cannot be trusted - it is just a sock-puppet for the aforementioned companies now that they exterminated any real community involvement i.e. the very people who made Linux the success it is.

              I could rant on about that for days.

    5. Bernardo Sviso

      Re: Miguel de Icaza is a great coder, and will always be so

      Red herring sighted:

      It's not de Icazza's coding skills that people are complaining about.

  8. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    It was about the patents

    The problem with Mono was never about what Ballmer said. It was about patents. If you used Mono, Microsoft could sue you for patent infringement. If you breathe, Microsoft could sue you for patent infringement, but would probably get kicked out of court before you had spent several million dollars. Using Mono and making a large profit would put you at risk of being sued until you look like SCO.

    A clear promise from Microsoft not to enforce patents did not make headline news. To be fair, I was not looking for one, but for years a lack of such a promise was headline news.

    I am sure Microsoft's lawyers a very aware of the difference between open source and free software. Open source means you can look at the source code, but without written evidence to the contrary, you should expect to be sued for wilful patent infringement if you ever distribute software afterwards (clearly you copied the patented structure, sequence and organisation of their gardening software into you motorbike design software).

    Free software can be any price. The free refers to freedom - to run, study, redistribute and improve. Part of a free software license is a guaranty from the supplier not to sue for patent infringement - unless you sue him first. I hope one day, journalists will understand the difference between open source and free software. Judging by the current evidence, an Orion capsule will land on Mars first.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: It was about the patents

      "Free software can be any price. The free refers to freedom - to run, study, redistribute and improve. Part of a free software license is a guaranty from the supplier not to sue for patent infringement - unless you sue him first. I hope one day, journalists will understand the difference between open source and free software. Judging by the current evidence, an Orion capsule will land on Mars first."

      Just to clarify, is that BSD kind of 'Free' or FSF kind of 'Free'?

      FSF advises not using .net or mono for large projects, last I looked. Really depends how pragmatic vs. purist you are. MS are opening .net and mono as a vehicle to promote Azure as much as possible, nothing more.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Teiwaz - Re: It was about the patents

        FSF kind of free tries to offer you the guaranty that no third party would sue for patent infringement either. In order to achieve this goal they have to incline more towards purist than pragmatic and this is making them unloved by many of us here.

        Simply put, GPL is a BSD license with teeth which tried to keep the profiteers at bay but unfortunately Google, Amazon and others finally have found a way around it.

        On the other hand, Apple for example preferred the safety of the BSD license to build their multi billion dollars empire.

        In conclusion, pick whatever suits you best.

        1. lurker 82
          Linux

          Re: @Teiwaz - It was about the patents

          "On the other hand, Apple for example preferred the safety of the BSD license to build their multi billion dollars empire."

          That's a great observation:

          - Companies who distribute software via their hardware like Apple and Microsoft are GPL averse, and prefer licences like FreeBSD which allow them to benefit from FOSS and other people's work, without being forced to give back.

          - Companies that offer services over the web (and FOSS platforms) like Google, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook are more GPL (and FOSS in general) friendly. They can use any form of FOSS licence, benefit tremendously. Giving back helps them save development/forking/merging costs.

          But look at the behavioral difference between Apple and Microsoft/Oracle (for example): while being very litigious against hardware manufacturers like Samsung, Apple seem to avoid suing FOSS contributors or beneficiaries over patents related to software. They actually contribute back to FOSS (e.g. bonjour, avahi, clang) even when they aren't forced to. Microsoft OTOH, has always played the Embrace/Extend/Extinguish strategy and patent protection racket (FAT nonsense, supporting the SCO litigation, etc.) while benefiting in a one-way direction from FOSS. That's why FOSS community members are highly suspicious of their motives.

          No doubt they became "more practical" under Satya Nadella, but have they fundamentally changed? Really?

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: @Teiwaz - It was about the patents

            You see the difference? A large part of what companies like Google does happens on their servers, thereby even if they use the GPL they are not forced to give anything back, because they don't distribute their code to end users, unlike Apple and Microsoft.

            So Google can reap the benefit of GPL without any of its adverse implications on Google's IP, because most of Google code never leaves Google machines.

            People should take some time to read and understand the licenses they talk about...

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

              Re: @Teiwaz - It was about the patents

              So Google can reap the benefit of GPL without any of its adverse implications on Google's IP, because most of Google code never leaves Google machines.

              Yeah, but who gives a fuck? THIS IS WHAT THE GPL IS ABOUT (at least in v2 version)

              People should take some time to read and understand the licenses they talk about...

              NO U!

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: BSD license

        BSD and similar licenses are often chosen by people and institutions financed by government grants. The license requires third party distributors to mention in their product literature that it uses some BSD or MIT or whatever software. The authors can include these mentions in their next grant application as evidence that something useful was done with the money last time. There is plenty of excellent software with a BSD style license that has ended up in all sorts of places - both free and proprietary.

        The BSD license does not attempt to limit patent threats. These threats are not from the coders, but from third parties because some patent systems reward first to file rather than the inventor (even for software which patent lawyers refuse to admit is not patentable because it it a branch of mathematics). Microsoft and other companies like BSD variants because they can embrace and extend without sharing.

        The GPL is selected by people who like the idea of contributing an onion and sharing the whole soup. There is an attempt to limit the damage inflicted by the patent system. The license to distribute is only available to people and companies who do not aggressively assert patents, so for some reason Microsoft actively despise the GPL, and will not distribute software with that license.

        If you code something, or hire someone to code it for you, you choose the license. If you want to use someone else's code in your project, read their license and if you are not entirely certain about license compatibility hire a lawyer to explain it to you before you commit large amounts of time or money to a project with no future. Throwing chairs at people because you do not like the license they have selected doesn't make the world a happier place. The good news is that in the world of software, the wheel has been invented so many times that you can usually pick one the a license want.

        1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

          Re: BSD license

          "(even for software which patent lawyers refuse to admit is not patentable because it [is] a branch of mathematics)"

          Anything can be expressed mathematically.

          Mathematics is a collection of thematically connected, artificial, highly symbolic languages, so claims that something is "a branch of mathematics" are equivalent to claims that something is "a branch of French". If you can express a concept mathematically, you can express it in any other language. That's what languages are for.

          Despite repeated attempts by many in the IT industry to imply otherwise, programming really is just a branch of translation. Nothing more, nothing less.

      3. Bernardo Sviso

        Re: It was about the patents

        It also depends on how far out your horizon extends, when defining or distinguishing between "pragmatic" and "purist". Some people look a little further ahead and around, than some others do.

        It's tempting to claim one is merely being "pragmatic", when really one is just taking an expedient option.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It was about the patents

      Despite being the most comprehensive patent promise I'm aware of [0] , it still wasn't good enough. Yet people still happily use (re)implementations of microsoft patented/copyrighted material without fear. Let's just look at (ex)fat as a reasonable example.

      For some it's just a case of haters wanna hate. Miguel was a prominent member of the opensource community for quite a while and was an easy target. People are free to selectively apply their morals as they wish. It's just pretty disingenuous to attempt to tar Miguel as the cause of every failing of the open source community. The opensource community hates on itself a hell of a lot more than anything else hates on it.

      [0] https://github.com/mono/mono/blob/master/PATENTS.TXT

  9. Graham Newton

    Politics?

    As primarily a Linux developer a Windows developer commented on C# and some useful RPC functionality. So I had a look and it seemed to sort of work.

    There were obviously massive gaps in the functionality between .NET and Mono so I monitored the progress of Mono on Linux.

    It soon became clear that with the creation of Xamarin then Mono on Linux wasn't really going anywhere. I am of the opinion that de Icanza is a politician. He'll tell you what you want to hear but if something better comes along he'll go for it. I don't blame him for furthering his career but it's not because he is a great coder or really committed to open source.

    I don't believe the open source team were always talking to the .NET guys because why would Mono have so many deficiencies. de Icanza may have been talking to MS but I don't think it filtered down to open source but de Icanza used this to get to where he is now. Just like a politician.

    I have found the views expressed here to be quite enlightening. I thought it was just me!

    1. thames

      Re: Politics?

      Xamarin came about because Mono had flopped badly on Linux, and the entire Mono development team had just been binned by their employer. Many years of effort and many millions of dollars of Novell's money had been flushed down the crapper on Mono with nothing to show for it.

      The talk about Mono facing "hate" from the open source community misses the mark entirely. There were a few people who didn't like it (and a tiny handful who slagged it off at every opportunity), but that had little relevance to the corporate developers who were the intended market. Lots of open source developers didn't like Java any better, yet that didn't slow down adoption.

      What killed Mono on Linux was indifference. Everyone looked at it, didn't see anything about C# or Dot-net or Mono that they gave a shit about, and proceeded to ignore it. Java developers, who live in their own self contained world outside of the mainstream of FOSS, looked at C# and Mono, weren't impressed, and kept using Java.

      The mainstream FOSS world looked at C# and Mono, saw what amounted to Microsoft Java (the difference between Java and C# is like the difference between the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea) and decided that if they weren't interested in Java, they were going to be even less interested in C#.

      De Icaza's reasoning for creating Mono revolved around the following. Sun had Java. Microsoft had Dotnet. De Icaza reasoned that "Linux" couldn't be a "platform stack" (which was all the rage at the time, just like "cloud" is today) without something similar. However, de Icaza wasn't the sort of guy to come up with original ideas. He has a lot of energy, but what he does is come up with open source clones of existing proprietary products.

      Cloning Java looked risky. Sun hadn't open sourced Java yet. Indeed Sun later releasing Java under a GPL license rendered the whole Mono effort moot.

      However, Microsoft was trying to gain some credibility for Dotnet by getting ECMA to "standards wash" wash it with their big rubber stamp. This was just what de Icaza was looking for. He ordered a copy of the spec and went to work.

      Meanwhile, Novell was trying to find a future for itself beyond Netware. They went around buying up "Linux" companies, including Suse (the number 2 enterprise distro) and Ximian (de Icaza's employer), the latter mainly I believe for the management software (which they later binned).

      De Icaza is if anything, a good salesman and promoter. He convinced Novell management that they needed their own "Java" equivalent to be able to offer a real enterprise "stack", and that Mono could be it. Novell bought into it, and poured money into Mono over the years.

      They may have got more use out of that money if they had just put it into a big pile and burned it. De Icaza had ideas about how to create Mono. What he didn't have was a successful idea of how to actually have it contribute anything useful to the company. Every six months or so, de Icaza would come out with a new brainstorm on finding a market for Mono. Each effort flopped miserably. Dotnet developers weren't interested in being cross platform (if they were, they wouldn't have been using Dotnet), and cross platform developers weren't interested in using Mono.

      Eventually, Novell got bought by Attachmate (since bought by someone else). The Mono division got shifted over to come under the authority of the Suse division. Suse management looked at Mono and its record of failure, and immediately shut it down and binned all the developers.

      De Icaza got in touch with some of his old associates from Ximian. They found some investors who let them start up Xamarin, with the idea of selling eye wateringly expensive development software into the relatively new market of mobile apps. I don't know if the company was financially successful, but they did manage to get acquired, which I suppose counts as a success in Silicon Valley terms.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Politics?

        I programmed in C# (and VB.NET) for a few years after it first came out. Apart from the seemingly deliberate attempt to prevent people writing standards compliant HTML without going mad I loved the language/framework as did many others I worked with. I followed mono's development closely for a while but always worried about the ticking time bomb of MS IP lurking in the background. I was never involved in development but after a while I got the impression it was not so much as being developed a bit slowly as pretending to be developed so someone else wouldnt do it.

      2. Mark Honman

        @thames

        Brilliant insightful comment - el Reg should pay you to expand it into an article on the subject.

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

          Re: @thames

          > el Reg should pay you to expand it into an article on the subject.

          Funny, I thought that as well.

      3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Politics?

        Xamarin came about because Mono had flopped badly on Linux, and the entire Mono development team had just been binned by their employer. Many years of effort and many millions of dollars of Novell's money had been flushed down the crapper on Mono with nothing to show for it. [..]

        Beautiful history post. Posts like this make it worth wading through all the other, umm, "stuff" :)

        Thanks, I enjoyed reading that.

  10. Oh Homer
    Windows

    De Icaza's love affair with Microsoft is not new

    He interviewed for a job with Microsoft as early as 1997, where apparently he "learned the truth about ActiveX and COM and ... got very interested in it inmediately(sic)".

    Being "interested" in what is possibly the single most insecure technology in the entire history of the software industry, is probably not great CV material, unless one's "interest" is the analysis of security failures.

    Microsoft may be an ostensibly "different" company today, but that is one area where it remains remarkably unchanged.

    There are many others. Its attitude toward the "Linux cancer" is only "different" in the sense that Microsoft has now found a way to profit by it - in the usual Microsoft way - with patent racketeering.

    My beef with de Icaza was never really about his software (the world is full of proprietary, patent encumbered garbage - one more doesn't really make much difference), or even the man himself (again, the world is full of Microsoft fanbois). It's the fact that such a high-profile ambassador, for a community that evolved specifically as a reaction to Microsoft's monopoly, betrayed that community by sleeping with the enemy, and did so very publicly and unapologetically, dividing the community in the process.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: De Icaza's love affair with Microsoft is not new

      It pretty clear you have no idea of what COM and ActiveX really are. Hint: they are not just IE plugins...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: De Icaza's love affair with Microsoft is not new

        It pretty clear you have no idea of what COM and ActiveX really are. Hint: they are not just IE plugins...

        If only, then they would be dead with the host on which they feast.

      2. sed gawk

        Re: you have no idea of what COM and ActiveX really are.

        COM is a lovely idea, hindered from being used in a horribly overly complex manner.

        Having the registry involved as opposed to some much simpler approach makes COM error prone in an unacceptable number of difficult to fix ways.

        For example, PAM has roughly the same need to allow runtime loading of Components, having solved it with a config file, okay not a wonderfully intuitive one, but orders of magnitude easier than fixing a corrupted registry hive.

      3. Daniel B.
        Boffin

        Re: De Icaza's love affair with Microsoft is not new

        It pretty clear you have no idea of what COM and ActiveX really are. Hint: they are not just IE plugins...

        No, they're just propietary cruft frameworks that happen to work only in the MSFT garden.

        .NET equivalents to the COM part (COM+, I think?) were less ugly but it was notorious that the .Net runtime was heavily tied to the Microsoft ecosystem. Want to use LDAP for your IIS authentication? Well, you have to build your own MembershipProvider and RoleProvider implementations. We only do AD.

        But ActiveX? Seriously? That thing was the number one security risk on the web. People may be snarky about Java, but at least the Java framework has builtin security sandboxes. ActiveX was infamous for giving full control with no means of sandboxing untrusted code.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: De Icaza's love affair with Microsoft is not new

      When young, one can get interested in various things that one later (when enough basic knowledge not available initially has accumulated) one realizes is technically utter bullshit, a square wheel laden with glitz and marketing hype (as well as patents, copyrights, code obfuscators and NDLs to cancerify the mix and assure some lock-in).

      One then turns away in disgust.

  11. oldcoder

    As he indicated - Mono is no longer cloud agnostic - but being tied to Azure.

    Just another lock in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Incorrect. Mono is and will remain cloud agnostic. What you misunderstood was that Xamarin Studio is going to get first class support for Azure, rather like Visual Studio has. Note: If you use Visual Studio you can also use any cloud provider you want. I know, i've done it!

      In short, you can still use any cloud provider you want, you just won't get a one-click switch to set it all up.

  12. W. Anderson

    A potentially great FOSS development gone to waste

    Commenter " Gnatius T Foobar" in inaccurate in stating that Miguel de Icaza created a schism between the Gnome and KDE development process, since it was De Icaza support for the Free/Open Source (FOSS) "model" which led him to initiate the Gnome desktop project, against which KDE, as a QT based project did not support such model at that time, but is now offered under a FOSS accepted license.

    While De Icaza was fully supportive on "anything" Microsoft at the time - to an unhealthy, obsessive degree, and obviously still is, many of the most respected and prominent FOSS developers felt in early Mono days that his talent could have been significantly more productive and creative in working on any one of the many incredible other FOSS and/or similar projects to Gnome.

    In the interview De Icaza mentioned what he deemed as "support" from Apple developers, although probable not so interpreted by most readers and those in the know, but said absolutely nothing of receiving any cooperation what-so-ever from corporate Google developers, about which he was also asked.

    A telling omission

  13. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Trollface

    The thirst for the same old "it's better" slogan cannot be quenched

    Miggy says:

    And we found that there was a real thirst with developers to use a high level language which is better than Java and Objective-C. We saw our market grow from zero to hundreds of thousands of developers. I think C# is definitely growing. It is nice how much investment is still going into C# the language.

    The only mental image that comes up is a dog endlessy chasing its own tail on which the text "a better bracketty language" can be seen. That dog is seriously retarded and unapologetic about its avoiding ideas that are actually an improvement.

    If he had said F# the language, yeah. But C#???

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: The thirst for the same old "it's better" slogan cannot be quenched

      Someone at reddit writes regarding Why your F# evangelism isn't working and this raises an interesting point:

      ... Another example of this was Microsoft's .Net platform and C# when it first appeared. MS was pushing .Net like no tomorrow and convinced the pragmatists that .Net was the way forward on the Windows platform instead of Java, and of course Mono worked out very well for them because they could point to it as an independent cross-platform implementation.

      The problem is MS is not doing the same thing today: they're not pushing F# as the way forward in programming .Net like Apple is Swift. They're afraid to cannibalise the C# business despite the pain points like concurrency and high ceremony/boilerplate. When Microsoft speaks, the pragmatist herd listens.

      Today, F#'s biggest competitor is not Haskell or OCaml or whatever, but rather C#.

      Oh, Miggy. Now I understand.

  14. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Very disingenuous retrospective rehash of the historical record.

    "In my opinion, the problem with Linux on the Desktop is rooted in the developer culture that was created around it."

    "What Killed the Linux Desktop" ref

    "It is licensed under the MIT X11 license and the Apache 2.0 license so there are no annoying licensing issues and can be mixed with anything out there" ref

    "OOXML is a superb standard .. Besides, it is always better to have two implementations and then standardize

    than trying to standardize a single implementation .. as long as you get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include patent coverage." ref

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Very disingenuous retrospective rehash of the historical record.

      "What Killed the Linux Desktop"

      Interesting read. So he finally realised that breaking compatibility on a regular basis wasn't a good idea. I could have told him that at the start. Experience is a dear teacher but there are those who will learn by no other.

  15. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Terminator

    Java is the big problem?

    'I feel vindicated (about) Mono... turns out that Java is the big problem'

    Mainly a big problem for Microsoft on the Android platform. Which is why Microsoft is extracting revenue out of the hardware manufacturers and promoting the exclusive use of their own locked-down Android clone Cyanogen. Now tell me again how Microsoft is playing nice.

    "I think the path we were going down of building on AWT was a sure disaster - It was creating a situation where pure 100% Java applications would look just as good as pure Windows applications which we have to avoid." ref

    "A point that is important to me is to have PURE JAVA applications that do a lot HAVE to ship a full runtime instead of being able to count on the run time being shipped with the operating system. This will make more complex in some ways that a Windows application that uses our native APIs. It will make the installation and version management harder." ref

    How do we wrest control of Java away from Sun?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Java is the big problem?

      I love these Hillary Clinton style e-mails. Mafia-style circumlocutions, dirty backhanders and planned, intentional pollution of the software ecosystem for all to see.

      These people would put melamine into milk in a jiffy if they were in that market.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I work at MS now and *some* of the people at the company are different. Some of the legacy employees are heavily tethered to the past. It is really an odd culture. You have Satya and his people who are embracing open source and the future. Then you have a ton of people who have worked at MS for years, including high level people, who are embracing the past while saying the right things in polite company... really know no other way. This manifests itself in a bunch of ways. The old guard is dragging their feet. I have never been at a company where years of experience is a negative, but that is true here. The longer you have worked at Microsoft, in total, the less you get it.... It is going to be a battle royale, new vs old. Satya and Gates are either going to win and replace the old guard... or those people are going to operate under the radar while singing Satya's song in public and screw things up. There is no doubt though, for those of you wondering, that Satya and team are 100% sincere in these new moves including open source, it is not a trap. The question is - Will the old guard, which are all over the company, undermine him?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Short answer: yes they will undermine progress.

      There can be no other outcome as long as the old guard are present and have any authority and control.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Personally, I'm hoping the old guard does effectively undermine MS, so the whole company implodes in a massive orgy of self destruction.

        And yeah, if it's not obvious, I'm a payback and vengeance kind of person.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agree, they need a culture transplant.

  17. ecofeco Silver badge

    Wow!

    I've never heard of this guy but the history is fascinating.

    I've also learned quite a bit from the posts. Technical things that are not in my work-a-day realm and all very interesting.

    As for the sniping, snark and insults, I am certainly not qualified to comment on those either one way or another, except that Microsoft is still the evil empire until they show otherwise. And by that I mean deliver a useful, reliable product to us end-users and not the make-do, Rube Goldberg contraption they've been selling for decades.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft

    Still the scumbags they have always been, their problem is they are now paying the price. Everything around them is crumbling due to widespread distrust and poorly engineered products.

  19. pyite

    Sorry, but Mono is a disaster

    Miguel is a great guy, but it is still a fact that nobody should ever use C#, Mono, Silverlight, or PowerShell unless they want to make software that is Windows-only.

    Java software can usually be made to run on Linux.

    Mono was only successful as propaganda to make Microsoft appear more open. In reality, if you see software that requires .NET or Silverlight it means you have practically no hope of using Linux.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorry, but Mono is a disaster

      The many .Net based applications which run just fine on many flavours of Linux prove you factually incorrect.

      This is the kind of baseless rhetoric which does a disservice to everyone. If it is of your opinion that you personally are unable to make a cross platform app using a .NET language, then make it clear that's the actual problem you have.

  20. Oh Homer
    Pirate

    Microsoft's strategy is not rocket science

    Microsoft's apparent new found "love" for Linux is not in any way benevolent. Like any business, its sole motive is profit. Patent racketeering only got it so far, now it must fully embrace the "Linux" paradigm to remain viable going forward.

    In short, first Microsoft copied Apple, now it wants to copy Google.

  21. tekHedd

    Did it have to go there so quickly?

    It is sad that the argument turned instantly into personal attacks, but regardless of that those of us with major projects in C# on mono are still screwed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Did it have to go there so quickly?

      Personal attacks are like spice of the forum.

      They must flow.

  22. W. Anderson

    de Icaza is unfortunately just a delusional Microsoft dupe

    If Microsoft is a "different" company as stated by Miguel de Icaza - although the word different can have a thousand meanings, why then has not Microsoft withdrawn it spurious litigation threats against Linux for software Patent infringement, when the company has continuously refused to specify to the Free Software Foundation (fsf.org) and other institutions responsible for various Copyrights controlling Linux and GNU just exactly where the infringements lay??

    Nationally and Internationally renowned entities like the Software Freedom Law Centre in USA and similar affiliated organizations on other continents have carefully analysed GNU/Linux code base and repeatedly found no infringements of Microsoft patents and copyrights what-so-ever, so de Icaza is just blowing smoke out of his anus, as usual.

  23. Oh Homer
    Childcatcher

    Yes, I'd almost forgotten about all those defamatory claims of "infringement"

    I'm still waiting for Microsoft to issue a public retraction for Ballmer's unsubstantiated claim that Red Hat's customers somehow owe Microsoft money, along with many other claims that "Linux" (by which I assume they're talking about more than just the kernel) allegedly violates 235 of Microsoft's highly dubious patents.

    Until Microsoft either proves or retracts those unsubstantiated claims, the idea that it's now a "different company" to the "Linux cancer" hating propagandist it was when those statements were made, is just a sham.

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